Series 3 Chromebox by Samsung. Photo: AFP
Designed to run Google's web-based Chrome operating system, Samsung's new Chromebox promises cut-price virus-free computing for those prepared to move into the cloud.
For the uninitiated, the Samsung Chromebox is the Google Chrome operating system equivalent of Apple's Mac Mini, a desktop PC hub to which prospective owners must attach their own monitor (or monitors), keyboard and mouse.
However, unlike the Mac Mini, the Chromebox isn't quite as ergonomically designed and doesn't feature an optical drive but it does have two great advantages -- it is virus-free (as the operating system and all of its applications are hosted online) -- and it is significantly cheaper.
Powered by a 1.9GHz Sandy Bridge-based Intel Celeron processor with integrated graphics card, a 16GB SSD memory and 4GB of RAM, its specifications mirror those of the original Chromebox launched in May 2012 but the new version has been rehoused in a rather more attractive white body. Ports include six USB 2.0 ports plus Ethernet connectors (for those without a wi-fi connection) for two monitors plus a microphone jack.
The specs might not sound very impressive but with a web-based operating system, plus a huge range of applications from word processing packages to Adobe Photoshop to choose from, as well as up to 100GB of cloud storage available, the Chromebox, like its Chromebook notebook counterparts, is a lesson in how less is more. As well as being virus-free, a web-based OS means that a Chromebox can boot in a matter of seconds and is always as responsive as a user's internet connection.
Google, Samsung and Acer have been working together for more than two years now to bring PCs to market that run the Chrome OS and that offer significant value for money.
This new Samsung Chromebox is rumored to be priced at $329 (although no official release date has yet been published).